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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Good News is Ignored - Scandinavian Solutions III -Prisoner Rehabilitation

There are reasons why the northernmost countries of the world tend toward socialism, it works. They are consistantly ranked as the best places to live, work, be eduacated, grow old, suffer setbacks, and even break the law. We don't hear about this because sucess doesn't make for high news ratings. Collapse and suffering is where the money is. So we hear nothing about Eurpose's economic disasters, products of raw, unrestrained capitalism, and nothing about the socialist successes. Those who benefit from the chaos don't what us knowing there are alternatives that work. People fear the gigh taxes in these countries but they get what they pay for and require less of their income personally. More of what they retain is disposable so the economy thrives. The society takes care of an encourages the individual and the the individual pays the society back gratefully.

As the Norwegians show, there are even better ways to run a legal system. Humane prisons focused on true rehabilitation produce productive humans instead of better trained and more damaged criminals.

For god's sake don't pay attention to what the north does! Your country might end up as a top place to live.

The following is from the Sunday Edition on CBC.

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Comfortable Norway prisons give inmates a new lease on life





While some people call the prisons in Norway
While some people call the prisons in Norway "cushy", they seem to be working.
A new breed of prisons in Norway is making some people shake their heads with bafflement - or outrage.

A wave of journalists from around the western world have descended on prisons like Bastoy, or Halden - Norway's new, $140 million prison - and filed incredulous stories about the well-appointed and cheerful lodgings of the criminals living there. 

Halden's interiors are sleek, stylish and beautifully designed. Cells are furnished with flat screen TVs, private toilets and clean, comfortable linens. 

Bastoy Prison looks like a tranquil, scenic, alpine island retreat ... for murderers, rapists and perpetrators of an assortment of violent and non-violent crimes. The guards are unarmed and there are no impregnable walls and fences. Instead, the inmates live together in neat cottages, prepare two meals a day for themselves and work for a modest paycheque.

Rather than simply feeling they're doing time, many of the prisoners seem to feel their incarceration has given them a new lease on life. 

In descriptions of Bastoy and Halden, phrases like "holiday resort," "luxury hotel" and "coddled criminals" inevitably come up, along with a certain mild astonishment that criminals would be treated by penal institutions, prison guards and each other as normal human beings.

Marianne_Vollan-200.jpg
Marianne Vollan
It does seem to run counter to the tough-on-crime rhetoric and policies that dominate in North America at the moment. But the Norwegian system does seem to work. Its rates of re-offending are the lowest in Europe and much lower than the rates in Canada and Europe.

Marianne Vollan, the Director General of Correctional Services of Norway, spoke with Michael about how and why Norway's penal system seems to be working.